The Chicago Northwest suburbs offer a variety of exciting local craft breweries to wet your palate. Here are five hardworking and unique local breweries bound to leave a lasting impression. Choose from a wide selection of hazy IPAs, barrel-aged stouts, fruited sours, hefeweizens, vintage ales, classic American lagers, and more! So pull up a stool, kick back, and enjoy the Chicago Northwest brewery tour.
Family-Owned Church Street Brewing Company
Founded nine years ago by chemical engineer Joe Gregor and beer enthusiast Lisa Gregor, Church Street Brewing Company is a family craft brewery created on the principle of serving traditional and unpretentious lagers and ales to local clientele. Located in the peaceful town of Itasca, Church Street Brewing Company showcases European influenced beers along with a friendly laid back environment. Their goal has always been to serve their patrons with consistently great tasting beer, and it shows. They have racked up quite a few awards for their efforts.
*Best of Show, Midwest Brewers Fest 2013
*Best Chicago Lager Chicago Magazine September 2013
*Best in Category, Midwest Brewers Fest 2014
Their outdoor patio is DOGGIE HEAVEN with a backyard to play catch – so don’t be afraid to bring your pooch. Since the brewery is in a warehouse, there is plenty of space for ping pong, darts, bags, and live music! At Church Street Brewing Company, expect quality beer, friendly service, and a fun atmosphere.
Recommendation: Heavenly Helles (gentle lager with sweet malt character)
Not Your Average Restaurant – Granite City Food & Brewery
Granite City Food & Brewery is an award-winning, handcrafted micro-brewery that found its home in Schaumburg. The brewery showcases an open kitchen featuring chef developed, made-from-scratch cuisines, including innovative signature entrees, flatbreads, and more. Granite City’s name comes from its hometown of St. Cloud, Minnesota (the granite capital of the world). In the 1880s, quarrying was hard, thirsty work, and for miners, a cold one was the only way to quench their thirst. Granite City understands what liberating thirst means, and it shows in their handcrafted beverages.
Granite City serves its classics all year-round and even features seasonal beer options. You can always count on moderately priced beers with unique flavors and everything brewed on-site! Granite City also boasts a patented brewing process called Fermentus Interruptus™. This process begins with a sweet liquid called wort, which ships from the central brewing facility to individual breweries. Their signature brews include The Duke (Pale Ale), The Bennie (Bock), The Batch 1000 (Double IPA), The Northern (American Style Light Lager), Prairie Vixen (Hefeweizen Wheat Ale) and the Broad Axe Stout (Oatmeal Stout).
Recommendation: The Duke (Pale Ale)
One-of-a-Kind Itasca Brewing Company
Itasca Brewing Company is the brainchild of Michael Valente & Zachary Phillips, two college friends who took on the hobby of homebrewing while attending Western Carolina University. After three years of first-hand experience brewing in the Smoky Mountains and attending brewing academies, Michael and Zachary decided to follow their dream. Itasca Brewing Company’s mantra is creating high-quality handcrafted beverages to improve the lives of Itasca residents.
You’ll interact with very knowledgeable staff who are incredibly passionate about brewing beer. Known as a local staple, and “diamond in the rough,” Itasca Brewing Company is a nano-brewery nestled on the lower level of Itasca Country Club inside the Fox & Turtle restaurant. If you are interested in the art of brewing or want to see how it all works, Itasca Brewing Company is a great stop. Every day the passion of brewing shines through the brewers, staff, and customers. A sense of community has always been the core value of Itasca Brewing Company and will continue to remain an integral part of the Village of Itasca for years to come.
Recommendation: Tangerine Cream Ale (Blonde ale with orange and split vanilla bean)
Main Stage Act – Mikerphone Brewing Company
Calling all music lovers! Rush the mainstage at Mikerphone Brewing in Elk Grove Village, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable lineup. Mikerphone Brewing is a memorable destination that serves music-inspired beer to individuals expecting their taste buds to sing. Some local favorites are “crushcrushcrush” titled after the popular Paramore song, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” named after the great Jack Johnson song, and “Helles Lager My Old Friend” named after the legendary Simon & Garfunkel song “Sound of Silence.” If you work up an appetite, order some of their popular garlic knots and craft pork jerky – you won’t be disappointed.
Recommendation: The Lemonade Parade (IPA w/Lemon Peel, Lemon Puree, and Cryo Ekuanot Hops)
Yesteryears Flower Shop, Now the Pollyanna Brewing Company – Roselare
Pollyanna Brewing Company – Roselare has gained a prestigious reputation among beer drinkers in the Chicago area. A local chain with three Illinois locations including Roselle, Pollyanna has been a brewing powerhouse for the past seven years. Known for “Crafting Optimism,” Pollyanna focuses on creating a balance with their beer, and prides themselves on their year-round availability. Constantly rotating beers and experimenting with new flavors and local spices, you can count on their intimate taproom and outdoor picnic area for a unique experience.
Named “Roselare” after the historic West Flanders City of Roeselare, Belgium, the second Pollyanna location in Roselle has quickly become a local hotspot, featuring a beautiful central bar area with friendly bartenders ensuring a welcoming atmosphere. Something unique about Roselare is its vast array of wooden barrels, Italian Fourdres, and smaller brewhouse for one-off offerings. Roselare is known for exploring the oddities of brewing and their experimentation with wood aging and mixed culture fermentations.
Recommendation: Maple Bourbon Barrel-Aged Henry (Chocolate Milk Lager aged in Maple Syrup Bourbon Barrels)
Thank you for supporting our local breweries, and when you pull up a stool please let them know that we sent you! Looking for more fun ideas this summer? Follow along with our IL Road Trip Round-Up blogs posted each Tuesday through Labor Day.